Everyone deserves a place to call home. Safe, affordable and appropriate housing is important to the social, economic and overall well being of our community. Castlegar is growing - but housing availability and diversity is not keeping pace. Many families and individuals are finding it hard to call Castlegar home.
The City of Castlegar has developed a Housing Strategy to direct how we move forward as a community to ensure greater housing supply, affordability and diversity of housing choice to accommodate the needs of the community now and into the future.
Our community is changing.
Our senior population is growing. An aging population has different needs for housing to enable aging in place; including options for home care and smaller housing units that are accessible or ground level as mobility needs change.
Renter households are increasing 10 times as much as owner households and many of these households are in core housing need or paying more than 30% of their household income on shelter costs. This points toward a greater need for purpose-built rental housing options.
Both renter and owner households are experiencing challenges with rising housing and energy costs. There is significant need for more diversity in housing choice within Castlegar to provide options for new homeowners and those wanting to downsize. There is also a need for more rental units that can accommodate seniors, young families and single-parent households. We do not have enough non-market housing units and supportive housing to meet the needs of the community and there are currently only two emergency beds available to support the most vulnerable.
The City completed a Housing Needs Assessment in 2018 which identified the groups and individuals experiencing the greatest challenges to housing within the community:
- Low-income seniors
- Low-income families
- People who are experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness
- Persons with disabilities
- Vulnerable women
The objective of the Housing Strategy will be to provide a framework to implement and prioritize actions to promote the delivery of housing through community participation, partnership and innovation.
Figure 1: Housing Wheelhouse as developed by City of Kelowna Journey Home
A Housing Strategy outlines the approach a municipality plans to take in response to the unique housing needs of the community. These strategies typically address the full range of housing options from homeownership and market rental to social housing and below-market housing reflective of the manner in which community and individual shelter needs change over time.
Housing Strategies may include: verification of housing needs and priorities over the next five to ten years; recommendations for housing policy and supportive land use regulations; land inventory of private and city-owned properties suitable to housing development and infill; identification of potential partnerships; incentives and funding opportunities that could be used in support of housing; and recommendation on local government financial policies that support the provision of housing and is responsive to changing housing needs and demands.
Five Focus Areas of The City of Castlegar's Housing Strategy
- Increase Affordable Housing choice and support for low to moderate-income households and vulnerable residents, including those experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
- Support Housing Diversity that is reflective of the changing needs of the community through the provision of a variety of housing types, tenure, cost and configurations.
- Promote Rental Housing by increasing opportunities for accessory dwellings, mixed-use and purpose-built rental housing developments.
- Reduce Barriers to housing by identifying methods to reduce financial and regulatory barriers and alignment of municipal development approval processes to support the development of housing options.
- Strengthen Partnerships and Community Awareness by pursuing innovative housing solutions and learning from others. Ensuring equitable engagement and capacity building opportunities.
Housing Advisory Committee
A Housing Advisory Committee was established in November 2020 to support the development of this project and to support future implementation of the Housing Strategy. This Committee is comprised of a diverse range of individuals who will contribute to the development of recommendations and assist in the identification and verification of strategies appropriate to the community.